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Developers Engage with Little 5 Points Business Association to Discuss Proposed Seven-Story Development


L5P, new development, Moreland Ave, Little Five Points

Representatives from the new seven-story development on Moreland Avenue provided updates and addressed concerns in the May 17, Little Five Points Business Association meeting. Thad Sheely and David Barrett, key figures behind the project, discussed their plans with representatives from the Little Five Points business community.


While business owners remain excited for the new customers and neighborhood members, many appeared weary of the new development: particularly concerning design and parking issues.


DESIGN

Some attendees questioned the “Ritz cracker box on which people put different façades” appearance of the proposed building. Many also expressed disappointment that the historic architecture of the district was not given more consideration. In response, Sheely acknowledged that he too believed the building looked like a “cereal box,” and emphasized that the design is a work in progress and that the renderings represent an early concept. The rendering presented at the meeting more prominently featured “historic building materials” (meaning bricks) compared to other renderings which circulated in the news.


Sheely also addressed concerns that the seven story height of the building is out of character for the generally low-set district. He acknowledged that the height of buildings is one of the first things people notice when walking or driving through a neighborhood, but the perception of height matters more than the number of stories. Accordingly, the developers determined the building’s height based on what current zoning allows, the half-as-tall building (Hudson Grille) next door, and the width of Moreland Avenue—which is almost as wide as the proposed building is tall. When asked where the closest seven story building is to L5P, Sheely had no response.


Business Association President, Kelly Stocks, pressed Sheely on concerns of residents on Josephine St.—behind the development—who fear the towering building will block their sunlight. In response, Sheely noted that the building’s 45-degree angle slope will hopefully allay the resident’s concerns. The developers made the decision to keep density on the Moreland Ave. side of the building rather than the back. Sheely and Barrett mentioned having fruitful conversations with the Josephine neighbors to address any concerns they may have.


PARKING

The plan includes 100 parking spaces for 200 residential units and 50 spaces for public use. The development team emphasized that tenants would have to pay to park in the adjoining spaces. With little availability for parking and a large share of small, studio apartments, the developers hope to deter tenants who drive cars. Little 5 Points sits between two MARTA stations, Edgewood-Candler Park and Inman Park-Reynoldstown, each within relative walking distance.


Walter Brown, Developer and L5P CID Board member who owns no property in L5P, highlighted the importance of embracing the new era of transportation and mentioned the city's encouragement of alternative parking solutions. (Brown recently came out against the already approved streetcar expansion—which taxpayers have been paying for since 2016—that will connect Ponce City Market and the Beltline to Downtown.)


Mack Headrick, owner of 7Stages Theatre, voiced his worry that the new development’s lack of adequate parking may create a burden on long-standing businesses and bars in the district. In contrast, Don Bender, a longtime property owner in the district, warned of overly focusing on the needs of existing businesses who have “pushed their limits” depending on the parking situation around them rather than providing parking themselves. Instead, he said, the future of Little Five Points is pedestrian with a higher focus on residential properties.


RETAIL MIX

The developers confirmed their commitment to attracting "great operators" who align with the L5P culture. While not specifically agreeing to prioritize local and authentic businesses rather than national chains, Sheely said they were looking for “local and authentic” shops, and committed to not lease to a Dunkin’. Terra Alma, an Atlanta retail broker, will help curate the retail environment.


According to Sheely, the developers plan to open with fully operating tenants on day one. Early tenants will be able to provide input on the design decisions for their space as well. Sean Germain, a local restaurateur who will open a diner in the development, emphasized the importance of each store having control over the character and design of its space.


NEW CROSSWALK

Sheely also revealed that a quarter-million-dollar budget has been allocated to the development of a new crosswalk in front of the development. The project requires approval from the Business Association members, which will receive a vote at the June meeting, before the developers seek approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation.


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